Are the UC's this ideologically partisan? A bit scary

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Discus: College Search and Selection: March 2004 Archive: Are the UC's this ideologically partisan? A bit scary
By Aterashva (Aterashva) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 04:36 pm: Edit

Dunno, eh. This guy is fairly rightist. But he does have a point. I'd like to hear some takes on this. Really true?

California vs. Academic Freedom
by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun
March 30, 2004

Critiques of the global academic march to the left tend to focus on classroom antics, silly statements to the press, articles with incomprehensible titles, and efforts to punish students who have the temerity to disagree with their radical professors.

But books are more important than all of this. Books make up the heart of the scholarly enterprise. Articles disappear, press analyses vaporize, and classroom lectures effervesce; books endure. They build the edifice of knowledge and potentially acquire an influence across the generations.

What sorts of books, then, are being written by today's top scholars?

For a representative sample, I looked at the Spring 2004 catalogue of one of the largest and most prestigious university publishers in America, the University of California Press. The catalogue is a substantial affair, 116 pages long, lavishly designed, boasting full color illustrations and a striking cover.

The books being published by California, however, leave much to be desired. Yes, there are apolitical inquiries into mammal evolution and Mark Twain's final years, but a uniform leftist tone of hostility toward established institutions and an embrace of the radical fringe characterize the list.

The first category includes many assaults on the American government. Quotes here and throughout draw on catalogue copy and blurbs:

American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons, by Mark Dow, "tells the horrifying story of men, women and children detained indefinitely by U.S. immigration officials" and explicitly compares their circumstances to those in "Stalin's U.S.S.R."

There's Something Happening Here: The New Left, the Klan, and FBI Counterintelligence, by David Cunningham, "examines the bureau's massive campaign of repression" in the 1960s.

The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border, by David Bacon, "paints a powerful portrait of poverty, repression, and struggle."

Other anti-government books expose the Three-Mile-Island "nuclear crisis" in 1979 (it was just a partial meltdown) and the first Bush administration's alleged "assault on the constitutional freedoms of the American media."

Business gets its comeuppance in a "gripping exposé" claiming that systematic overcharging by the pharmaceutical industry makes drug costs "so needlessly high." The Catholic Church is mauled in two studies, one denigrating the Roman Curia, another comparing Jesuit and Nazi art.

And these days, what self-respecting academic press could go a season without a book that, "in light of feminist, gay, and transgender criticism," challenges the staid old notion of male and female genders?

Positive studies, in contrast, celebrate leftist and insurgent institutions:

Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies, by Jeremy Varon, "reconstructs the motivation and ideology of violent organizations" by conveying "the intense passions of the era the heat of moral purpose, the depth of Utopian longing, the sense of danger and despair, and the exhilaration over temporary triumphs."

Taking Back the Streets: Women, Youth, and Direct Democracy, by Temma Kaplan, exalts street demonstrations, finding they "bore witness to human rights violations, resisted the efforts of regimes to shame and silence young idealists, and created a vibrant public life that remains a vital part of ongoing struggles for democracy and justice."

One subset of California books honors left-wing culture, such as beat poet Allen Ginsberg, leftist printmakers in New York of the 1930s, and Ant Farm, a "radical architectural collective." Another subset hails left-wing politics, such as American labor unions, an American consumer revolt, and the founder of the Tibetan Communist Party.

Squinting as hard as I could at California's spring list of 140 titles, however, I found not one single conservative book. And the same pattern generally holds true of other major academic publishers, if not always so consistently.

This finding of wisdom in only one part of the political spectrum and publishing only its views is deeply consequential: it betrays the concept of academic freedom, a concept that assumes no one outlook has a monopoly on truth, but that truth emerges from debate.

To reinstate academic freedom requires a reassertion of principles, something most effectively done through the widespread adoption of the "Academic Bill of Rights," David Horowitz's initiative that has already reached 130 American campuses and eight state legislatures. (See its text and some press coverage at

Anyone interested in helping American universities, including their presses, regain balance should actively support this important effort.

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To see the Daniel Pipes archive, go to

By Magoo (Magoo) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 11:44 pm: Edit

You do have a point however do not stereotype the entire school system (because its in california) there are conservative professors, and there are schools in the UC system that are a little more moderate or right winged.

Just remember that it is college and that most colleges in the United States have some staff that are less than moderate and are considered radicals. The only thing that concerns me is when any professor tries to change the political ideology of their students (they have no RIGHT to do so...haha I love puns :) ), with the publication that you are talking about, that does not upset me because those are outside influences in your life anyone who is smart enough can think for themselves.

Good topic I' m afraid that the size of the post numbs down the ubiquity of the subject and the possibility of a decent size conver.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 12:58 am: Edit

Maybe someone should read some of these books before they criticize them. . .

By Sdsurf69 (Sdsurf69) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 01:23 am: Edit

Are you ••••••• kidding me, UCSD had a survey last year 104 liberal professors to 3 known conservative ones. It's like this with all the UC's

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 02:09 am: Edit

Yes. It is a real shame that academics are overrun by liberals. This itself doesnt bother me that much, even though I am not liberal. What bothers me is the lack of presenting sides other than theirs. What bothers me is them stating their opinion as fact. What bothers me is the lack of objective teaching. I went through this last year in high school with a radically leftist history teacher, and it was a bad experience for conservatives, liberals, and apathetics alike.

By Metz (Metz) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 03:55 am: Edit

Jlg3d3, I agree that teachers should not be using their biases as facts. But one must wonder why academia is so much more liberal than conservative. School teachers being predominantly liberal makes a lot of sense, as they tend to be lower income and in unions. But what about professors? Why is it that so few conservatives teach at teh college level?

By Lookn4norml (Lookn4norml) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 10:53 am: Edit

Didn't realize this had become such a big issue til saw the news item about a conservative CA student being punished for his views-think it had something to do w/ college republican groups; odd thing about the extreme left-thought one of their tenets was open mindedness; but it is only if you think like them. Dishonest thinking in texts is rampant it seems-recently read where some schools in far south Texas want to revise history about the Alamo-to soften harsh facts -Texans were not 'executed' but 'dispensed w/' by Mexican soldiers, etc. Have we become so thin skinned we cannot accept historical facts about ourselves-is it honest to believe US Gov't just "relocated" Native Americans?

By Goodchocolate (Goodchocolate) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 10:58 am: Edit

Just take a look at that thread. It's a great show of the liberals pseudo "open-mindedness".

By Mommydog (Mommydog) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 02:02 pm: Edit

There is a great organization that is what the ACLU should be--
This organization takes action to protect speech on campuses regardless of the political persuasion of the group or person seeking redress. They will protect the rights of conservatives as well as liberals.

By Aterashva (Aterashva) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 02:11 pm: Edit

The idea of a university is to liberate minds. To give them knowledge to make their own decisions and thus assert their own freedom. If proffesors are filtering information for students in a very biased way, then it is sad because you are not liberating minds; you are thus constraining them
It is not that "leftists" dominate the universities. It is that any ideology- by nature a restrictive way of looking at the world, a filter, if you will- is seeking to dominate the minds of human beings and young impressionable college students at that. No ideology should dominate any institution.
The essence of democracy, and America is to allow freedom. And above all, it is the freedom to think.
Which is why the UC's are wrong.

By Susu (Susu) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 06:23 pm: Edit

Wake up and smell the propaganda, grasshoppers. MOST universities are quite liberal-leaning. And California, in particular, has been shafted often by greedy energy companies and presidents who block environmental measures--who can blame them for being liberal. (Ever hear of the People's Republic of Berkeley? Ever hear of protesting the Vietnam War?) If you want a bastion of conservative thinking, go to school down South somewhere. Or Dartmouth. Or Yale, and then wonder why you can't get into Skull and Bones.

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